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How to do towed foil?

The practice of foiling is expanding to new horizons. Today, it is possible to get in the water regardless of wind or sea conditions. The towed foil is totally in line with this dynamic, it is a way to enjoy our passion in not very windy conditions.

The towed foil can also, in a performance dynamic, allow access to the tow-in, giving you access to wave surfing that would be impossible to catch with a paddle. Therefore Learn to tow the foil is an entry point to many new activities. Finally, when we talk about towed foils, we have to talk about Wake foil. It’s a fast-growing discipline and you don’t need to have a big boat. A simple RIB with 25 hp may suffice.

To give an idea of the level of accessibility to the practice, remember that the towed foil is used by most wingfoil schools to learn wing foil.

So let’s go over all the tips and tricks to start and progress in towed foiling.

What is a towed foil?

1. Equipment

Towed foil is an activity towed by a motorized boat. It is therefore necessary to have a boat equipped with a rudder pedal.

For your personal equipment, it is important to protect yourself because foiling remains a risky practice. We recommend wearing a vest or impact vest , helmet and neoprene booties. Don’t overestimate yourself and be careful.

As for the board, equip yourself with a board and foil set by following the following recommendations:

  • Don’t take a foil that is too small at the start, the main idea is to learn how to do towed foil and fly.
  • If you already know how to fly a wingfoil or kitefoil, take a foil that you are used to.
  • Regarding the board, use a board with more volume than your weight at the beginning, this will greatly facilitate the learning and preparation phases to get on the board.
  • Once you have progressed, you will be able to reduce the size of the board to unbridle the maneuverability of the foil.

2. Safety first!

As mentioned earlier, safety is paramount. It is important not to overestimate yourself and to wear as much safety equipment as possible to avoid injuries during your tests.

The pilot of the boat must be aware of the hazards and attentive to what is happening in front of and behind him. From a regulatory point of view, there must always be at least two of you in a towing boat, a pilot and a person watching the rider behind! Don’t forget your orange flame to signal that you’re towing a rider!

For the choice of spot and conditions, choose a calm body of water without obstacles (other users, rocks, mooring buoys, etc.). The flatter the water, the easier it will be to fly. When it comes to conditions, find a quiet time slot with no wind and little traffic.

The towed foil in three stages!

1. Physical requirements and skills to get started

From a physical point of view, the towed foil requires a certain physical condition to get back on the board several times in a row, especially when you are just starting out. Expect to have aches and pains the next day, as the rudder pedal pull is still quite intense and depends on the experience of the helmsman towing you.

From a technical point of view, it is important to maintain your balance on the board. This should be a formality if you have chosen a board suitable for your level.

2. First steps on the water: how to balance and hold the board.

In the case of a board that floats:

  • During the learning phase of the towed foil, it is recommended to keep the feet in line with the board or to move them off-center by putting the front foot closer to the rail on the heel side and the rear foot closer to the rail. Where the toes are. Being balanced is fundamental to learning quickly. To maintain good posture, it is advisable to look far ahead, about 5 to 10 meters. Don’t look at your feet. Finally, a magic trick to lock the pelvis and straighten above its center of gravity: squeeze your buttocks to sheath your abdominals.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable starting standing, we recommend starting on your knees. Pick up some speed, then get on the board standing up.
  • To properly control your foil, it is important to transfer your weight to the front and back leg rather than pressing on either leg. To do this, hold your rudder pedals and look ahead. When standing on the board, stand up straight on your board, with your torso over the supports.

In the case of a leaking board:

  • Sink your board and position it under your feet. With the front hand, hold the rudder pedal and the front of the board, and with the other hand, hold the back of the board. Bend your legs tightly and keep a group position. This position resembles that of a person crouching underwater during a wake waterstart. Maintain balance as long as the boat is not moving forward. Once the boat starts, the pressure of the foil and board will press the latter to your feet. Orient the nose of the board towards the surface of the water and gradually rise to the surface of the water. As you make the ascent to the surface, bring your second hand back to the rudder pedal and push off your legs.
  • When you are on the surface of the water, the procedure is the same as with a larger board. All you need is more speed.
Foil tractée wake foil

3. Fin power management: how to control traction to maintain balance.

Once you get out of the water, your foil will carry you harder and harder as the speed of the boat increases. This force will be even greater with larger foils (front fin). To compensate for this increasing pressure, it is necessary to press a little more on the front leg. To fly horizontally, it is important that your weight is equal to the thrust of the foil. For this, three things are essential: The speed of the boat. It should not be high. It must be proportional to the surface area of the foil and the weight of the rider, the placement of the feet and the placement of the foil.

The further your foil is in the housing, the greater the pressure under the front foot will be. This increases the likelihood of being ejected. The further back it is, the more you will be able to control the trim if you go faster. However, comfort at low speeds will be less.

So as a first step, we recommend that you put your case in the center of the US rails. Then fine-tune according to your size, level and speed of the boat.

Foot placement is a key element in maintaining balance on the board. The foil pushes upwards, your weight presses on the board. The weight of the rider should be equal to the thrust of the foil. Otherwise, the foil will only go up or vice versa. Therefore, the positioning of the rider’s weight should be roughly above the center of thrust of the front wing. (1/3 of the leading edge of the front wing.) To compensate for too much pressure under the front foot, move forward. To compensate for too much pressure on the back foot, move your footing back on the board.

You need more details: here are the different steps to get on the board

First, the goal will be to understand how the foil works. To do this, it is essential to remove any balance issues that may hinder your progress. Put on a short mast, and kneel well balanced on the board, this will make it easier for you to learn. The less height there is, the lower you are on the water, the easier the foil is to control.

Placement on the board: on your knees, this makes it easier to understand the balance of the board and the foil. Position yourself in the center of the board, stay balanced on the board, especially as soon as the boat starts to move forward. Check your lateral stability by trying to distribute the same pressure on both knees. If your board pitches up too much, press a little more on the front of the knees. If your board doesn’t rise at all, shift your weight a little more to your heels while remaining on your knees. You are well balanced when you fly horizontally on the water. Do a few kneeling flights to better master and control your foil.

Tips: Opt for a longer chord length for your rudder pedals. This will erase any loss of tension or slack in the rope.

Move from kneeling to standing.

When you can fly without any problems on your knees. It’s time to stand up.

Boat stopped, get on your knees balanced on the board.

Engage the motor and as soon as the board moves forward a little, start by putting your front foot on the board, then go up and put your back foot on the board. You have two options.

1- Put your feet in the longitudinal axis of the board.

2- Put the feet slightly off-center from the longitudinal axis of the board (the front foot de-oriented towards the rail closest to the heels and the back foot, a little more plank from the rail of the board on the toe side.)

Tips: this second solution provides a lot of stability for beginners.

Fly balanced! Once in flight, control of its flight passes the transfer of weight between the front and rear leg (and not a pressure on the front and rear leg). Straighten your torso, keep your arms straight. Control the board by transferring the weight to the front or back leg.

Tips: If you’re having trouble getting the board to fly, ask the boat to speed up a little more at first, when you’re in the air, it can slow down again.

Going further in practice:

1. How to accelerate smoothly:

If you start to get comfortable, start making curves and move away from the axis of the boat. Press down on the toe or heels to change trajectory. This will allow you to better control the trajectories and have greater accelerations.

2. Start waking the boat wave

Let go of the rope and try to stay in the trough of the wave of the boat’s wake. Use the power of the wave (hollow sound) to generate lift and stay in the air.

wake foil bateau SROKA

3. Learn pumping

If you’re starting to master the foil, last the boat. You can try relaxing the rudder pedal and then letting go and pumping with the foil. This will come in handy for Winging.

4. Start Jumping

The idea here is not to provide a complete tutorial on towed and foil jumps, that may be the subject of a future article. The objective is simply to give some examples of what is possible with only a few towed sessions under your belt.

The single jump is a good start. The rider pushes on the back foot to get the foil out of the water, group in the air, and lands by bringing the front fin in first, pressing quickly on his back foot to encourage the foil to fly as quickly as possible. It’s important to try to take advantage of a spring effect, by pushing the foil into the water before pressing down on the back foot to jump. The simple jump is made in the axis of the boat to avoid any lateral imbalance due to the pull.

Tips: Always keep an adjustment that gives you pressure under the front foot. This helps to maintain better control in all situations.

To start, we advise you to go with the pocket 4’0 which will be a good compromise to start in Wake foil with an S-Foil in 1750 for complete beginners. It will provide you with ease and comfort to get started.

For those who are a little experienced, we recommend the Wake foil pack with the pocket 4’0 and a Foil in 1190 L or 1350.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, learning to tow the foil is an activity to add to your list of skills. It offers the opportunity to enjoy the sea even on days without wind or waves. But above all, it allows you to develop new skills that will be transferable whatever the foil activity.

Generally speaking, every moment spent on a foil allows you to progress in different disciplines. So, what are you waiting for?

Towed foil is a nautical activity that consists of being towed by a boat while being equipped with a foil. The foil is a kite that lifts the board above the water and reduces drag. This activity is accessible to water sports practitioners such as kitesurfing, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, wingfoil, etc. Learning to tow a foil allows you to discover foiling without the need for a sail. It is possible to start with sessions towed by a motorboat or with a water ski lift to discover the first flights, the control of the attitude and the direction. It’s a very good springboard to discover the different activities in foiling.

If you still have questions about this, or for any other request, please do not hesitate to contact us !

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